Leader of new opposition party in S.Korea lands on disputed Takeshima Islands

The leader of South Korea's second-largest opposition party has landed on the Takeshima Islands in the Sea of Japan.

South Korea controls the islands. Japan claims them. The Japanese government maintains the islands are an inherent part of Japan's territory. It says South Korea is illegally occupying them.

The new Rebuilding Korea Party won 12 seats in April's general election. It is headed by former Justice Minister Cho Kuk, who arrived on what South Korea calls the Dokdo Islands on Monday afternoon. Cho was accompanied by related officials.

Cho read out a statement claiming that the islands are South Korea's territory.

He also criticized South Korea's President Yoon Suk-yeol for his policies toward Japan.

In April, some members of the main opposition Democratic Party also set foot on the islands. The party, which won a majority in April's election, voiced its opposition to Yoon's Japan policies. It said his administration is making too many concessions to the country.

Following Cho's visit to the Takeshima islands, Namazu Hiroyuki, the director-general of Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau of Japan's foreign ministry, phoned the South Korean Embassy in Tokyo on Monday.

He told senior diplomat Kim Jang-hyun that the landing was forcibly carried out despite Japan's request for cancellation.

Namazu said the landing was totally unacceptable and extremely regrettable, saying the islands are an inherent part of the territory of Japan, in light of historical facts and based on international law.

The Japanese embassy in Seoul lodged a similar protest with South Korea's foreign ministry.